NWK

NWK

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Confession and a Video

I'm a cranky Pagan. The more Pagans I meet, the less I seem to like these supposed like-minded individuals or groups. I made this video a while ago, before I moved to Turkey. I thought I would share it. There is meant to be some humor in it, but some people might not see that. That's okay. I'm a solitary creature, I do my own thang, and I'm totally okay with it. No one else has to be. I'll just be in my kitchen stirring my pots and chanting while I make my bread. Happy Yule to all! Now where did I put my holiday spirit? *grumbles*

Monday, December 13, 2010

Happy Holidays

I'm leaving for WV this week and won't really have internet access for a while. My parents still have dial-up (I know, right?), and I probably won't be able to access much more than e-mail. I hope everyone has a wonderful Yule.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Recipe Sucess!

Last Sunday, as soon as I arrived in WVa, I had my parents drop me off in Morgantown. Jessi had promised to make my pumpkin samosas at the restaurant where she works. They were offered to workers and a few customers, just to try. They were a hit! People loved them. They are definitely going into the book. I'll also post my apple-cranberry chutney, which would be the perfect dipping sauce.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Tonight's Supper



I had some hot and sour soup from a Chinese restaurant this week and it left me craving more, so I decided to make a version of my own. I'm thinking of working on this recipe for the cookbook, but I won't use the Ramen mix to start it.

I used:
1 package pork flavored Ramen
1 can chicken broth
1 can water
1/3 package dried mushrooms, soaked in boiling water, plus the broth
1/2 package extra firm tofu, cut into cubes
about 1/3 can bamboo shoots
1/2 teaspoon hot chili flake
1.5 teaspoons grated ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons rice vinegar

Cook the garlic and basically throw everything else into the pot except the tofu and the vinegar. Let it simmer for about 3 minutes, throw in the tofu and wait until 3 minutes. Stir in the vinegar and serve piping hot.

It's garnished with chopped green onion, cilantro, and a drizzle of toasted sesame oil.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Autumn Revisited

Autumn's not over yet, so let's take a look at the revisions that have been made to the recipe line up for the cookbook, shall we?

sweet and spicy nuts
acorn squash soup
black bean soup
mushroom soup
autumn salad
cranberry-apple chutney
corn cakes with pintos
pumpkin samosas
beef and stout pie
green beans with cranberries and walnuts
glazed beet salad
Prosperity Shortbread
pumpkin muffins with chocolate chips and hazelnuts, with a cinnamon cream cheese frosting


I still feel that I am missing something. Any ideas?

Post # 300 and a Peek at Winter

This is my 300th post! Cool. Well, since I am working on organizing the recipes for the cookbook and have already posted the autumn section, I thought I would go ahead and post some ideas for the winter section as well.

Here goes.

Winter

wilted greens with bacon
sesame cabbage
potato soup with rosemary and ham
goat cheese ball/log
ricotta and feta pie
Sun God Fritatta
glazed carrots
stuffed cabbage
hot buttered rum
brandy slush - working on this
orange-rosemary pork loin
herbed roast potatoes
cornmeal cookies with pine nuts and currants

That's all I have so far. I need to get a few more things. Autumn is by far the biggest section right now. You'd think I'd be inspired by summer's bounty or the beautiful new freshness of spring, but me, I like autumn, when shit is dying. Go figure.

Cookbook Update

Well, so far I have the main introduction mostly done. I need to work on an introduction for each season, which is something I plan to do more of when I have more time off from work. I worked on organizing recipes last night, came up with a few more ideas to try, and did a count. So far I have 50 recipes and ideas, mostly tested. I gotta get my butt in gear! November is almost in the bag.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Thanksgiving, Part III

I'll try to wrap it up in this post. Maybe one more. We may even get to dishes that were actually served at the first Thanksgiving!

Although not served at the first Thanksgiving, no table would be complete without that big, jiggly blob of canned cranberry sauce. Perhaps you make your own? If so, bless you! It's so much better.

Cranberries are ruled by the planet Mars. Their element is water and their energy is protection.

To prepare your own, add 1 bag cranberries to a sauce pan. Put in 1 cup sugar and 1 cup orange juice. Cook until the berries start to burst. Easy. If that's not easy enough, just open a can and *plop*.

Another food that was not served in the 1620s was mashed potatoes. For years I didn't like mashed potatoes. After having lap band surgery, I find the texture appealing and I now enjoy them.

The potato is an Earth food, carrying energies of protection and compassion.

Sweet Potatoes are ruled by the Moon and Earth and carry the energies of love and sex. Not that anyone is really thinking about sex after a full Thanksgiving dinner although it would be an excellent way to burn off those calories.

Pumpkins are also ruled by the Moon and Earth. Their energies are healing and money. Pumpkin pie flavored with cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg can be used to attract money. You know, for Yule shopping the next day.

I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving celebration next week. May you be surrounded by loved ones and loving energies, along with prosperity for this new year.

Thanksgiving, Part II

We've briefly discussed the turkey and now it's time for the best part of the dinner for some people - the stuffing.

Whether you call it stuffing or dressing, put it in the bird's butt or not, this side dish is always made with bread. Bread, in turn, is made with wheat. Wheat is associated with Venus. Its element is earth and although its energies can vary, the biggest ones are prosperity and money. Adding a stuffing to the inside of the turkey might punch up the prosperity magic if that's what you're going for, but remember that stuffing adds cooking time and if it doesn't cook all the way through, you could be looking at some serious health issues later.

Chestnut Stuffing

4 cups of day-old white bread, cubed - prosperity, money
2 cups day-old cornbread, crumbled - protection, spirituality
2 onions, finely chopped - protection
2-3 ribs celery, finely chopped - peace, psychic awareness
2 sticks butter - spirituality
1 tablespoon dried sage - longevity, health
2 teaspoons dried thyme - love, psychic awareness, purification
1 teaspoon dried savory - can't find energies, but I would say love
1 pound roasted chestnuts, sliced - love
salt and pepper to taste
chicken or turkey stock to moisten

With a sharp knife, cut an "X" into each chestnut. Roast at 450 F until shells open, about 10 minutes. We do this over an open fire at my parents' house, in an old cast iron chestnut roaster.

When chestnuts are cooled, peel and slice.

In a large bowl, combine the breads. In a skillet, cook the onions and celery with the butter until soft, about 10 minutes over medium heat. Add to the bread mixture. Mix in the herbs and turn well to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Moisten the dressing with stock. Actually, you want it to be fairly wet to keep it moist while it is cooking. Start with two cups and add more. You don't want it to be soupy.

Put the dressing/stuffing/whatever you call it in a greased casserole dish and bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes, until the top is brown and a bit crunchy.

This is my mom's chestnut stuffing, more or less. She doesn't use thyme or savory, but I finally talked her into using actual celery and not celery seed. Yeesh!

There you have it. A side dish for love, or a stuffing to add extra prosperity to the bird.

Note: If you are stuffing the bird, remember that stuffing adds to the cooking time. Consult your recipe books or the internet for proper cooking times. The meat should reach 180 F in the leg meat when done, and the stuffing should have an internal temperature of about 165. I recommend a digital meat thermometer for this. Don't rely on the pop-up thingie in the turkey.

Signifiance of Thanksgiving Dishes, Part I


This post is going to explore the energies that are connected to the foods on the typical American Thanksgiving table. With Thanksgiving just over a week away, many people are busy planning menus and putting together shopping lists. Some families serve a traditional turkey dinner, while others serve traditional foods from a different culture, such as ravioli in Italian households. We're going to deal with the regular old holiday menu first - turkey and all the trimmings.

First, we have the turkey. I see turkey as being associated with earth and prosperity, similar to most meats. Nothing says bountiful like a huge platter holding an enormous bird, its skin a nice bronze color with snowy white flesh beneath.

To add an extra punch of prosperity or money magic to your dish, try stuffing the cavity of the bird with herbs for prosperity: basil, parsley, or dill.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Green Beans with Cranberries and Walnuts

I've had this in my head for a while and decided this weekend would be a good time to experiment. I must say, it turned out really well! This is a delicious, festive-looking recipe to grace your Thanksgiving and Yule tables.

1 bag frozen green beans, cooked according to package directions
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup toasted walnut pieces

Dressing
1 small shallot, finely minced
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
4 tablespoons olive oil, extra virgin
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the green beans, drain and rinse with cool water. Toss in a bowl with toasted walnut pieces and dried cranberries.

In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Whisk in the olive oil last, until well combined. Pour over green beans.

Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Simple and delicious.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

I know this recipe is already on my other blog, but I wanted to show pictures of the making of the cheese ball. It's just a simple little appetizer to serve on Imbolc. Serve it with some sesame seed or poppy seed crackers, which are also appropriate for that Sabbat.

Ingredients:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
4-6 oz. goat cheese (chevre), softened
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1/2 cup dried Mission figs, chopped fine

My pictures are *always* out of order because I'm a techno-moron.

Obviously you blend the softened cheeses together first. You really have to give the chevre a good mashing because it's creamy yet crumbly. The cream cheese is the binder.

Add the chopped dates, fresh thyme, and salt and pepper to taste. Form into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and put in the fridge for an hour.

In the meanwhile, toast some pecans either on the stove top or in the oven. Put them in the food processor. You'll need about 1/4 - 1/3 cup of crushed pecans. Place them in a bowl and roll the cheese ball around to evenly coat it. Wrap it up and put it back in the fridge until it's time to serve.





What's Cooking This Weekend

I am trying out a green bean recipe for the Yule table - tender green beans with beautiful red cranberries, toasted nuts, and a nice grain mustard dressing. Designed to be served at room temperature or lightly chilled.

I'm also going to make my Imbolc cheese ball recipe - goat cheese, cream cheese, dried figs and thyme, rolled in toasted pecans.

I hope everyone is having a happy Saturday. I'm getting my kitchen cleaned and am fixing to mess it up again! :)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Protective Spice Mix

This spice mix does double duty. You can sprinkle it on your food or just sprinkle it around your property for protection. Make a double batch and do both.

3-4 bay leaves, center stem removed, leaves crumbled
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon each garlic and onion powder or granulated onion and garlic
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

In a coffee/spice grinder pulverize bay leaves, peppercorns, and dried rosemary leaves. Put in a small bowl and combine with the rest of the ingredients.

Add this to protective foods or other dishes to add protection. I'm thinking of sprinkling some on a steak or a nice pork roast this weekend.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Easy Kitchen Smudging

I just tried this out and it worked pretty well after I turned down the heat.

You need:

1 sheet of aluminum foil, folded half, then half again
1 tablespoon rubbed sage
Your electric stove

Fold the foil and gently set it on top of the smallest burner on your stove. Turn the heat to medium. Allow the burner to warm gently, then sprinkle the sage onto the foil.

Please be careful and watch this carefully. Do NOT leave it unattended. After the sage started to smoke, turn off the heat and just fan the smoke around the kitchen.

Ta-da! Kitchen smudged in an easy (probably none-too-smart) way.

I'd post a picture, but it kind of looks like I have pot on my stove. *L*

Spice Blends for Love

Here are two spice blends combining herbs and spices that carry love energies (amongst other energies). I'm still working on the measurements and such.

Sweet:
Anise, cardamom, cinnamon, clove and ginger

Combine about 1/4 teaspoon anise and cloves with 1/2 teaspoon ginger and cardamom and 1 teaspoon cinnamon to add to sweet things such as apple cider or apple, carrot or pumpkin cake.

Savory:
Basil, marjoram, thyme, fennel and coriander and rosemary

Combine a teaspoon of each (1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds), dried, in your blender or spice grinder (to pulverize the dried rosemary and the fennel seeds)

Add this blend to something like a tomato sauce, or sprinkle liberally over pork, beef or poultry.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Cooking Up Ideas

I saw a post on a regular food blog about spice blends and that got me to thinkin'. How about I whip up some magical spice blends? A love blend, prosperity, protection, etc. I see what I have and fire up my coffee grinder, see what happens!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Jumping the Holiday Gun

Here it is not even Thanksgiving yet and I've already started working on more recipes for Yule. Tonight I'm making a ricotta and feta pie with olives, onions and red pepper, amongst other ingredients. I couldn't find everything I needed in the store, so I'm still working on the recipe. More to come.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Blogging a Recipe Fail

I decided to make black bean burgers for dinner tonight. I bought the necessary ingredients, including a bag of rather pricey vital wheat gluten, then I hemmed and hawed, not sure if I would like it, etc. I decided to give it a try because I do love black bean burgers, and the ones from the grocery store tend to be a bit bland.

For a recipe, I adapted Isa Chandra Moskowitz's Chickpea Cutlets recipe. They looked so tasty and easy to prepare that I decided to use her methods to make black bean cutlets instead.

I even took pictures of the process, so you could see the strings of gluten being developed. I cooked one patty according to the directions. Then it was time for the taste test. UGH!!! Even though I flattened it out while cooking and cooked for the prescribed amount of time, it was still miserable. It was mushy and didn't have the strong cumin flavor that it seemed to have before cooking.

The original recipe for chickpea cutlets might be worth trying, but as an omnivore, I doubt I'll be putting forth the effort again. I'd rather just have a damn steak. I ended up having microwave spaghetti. Nasty.

Entire Intro (Rough Draft)

Please to be reading and give the feedbacks.

I worry that it gets a bit repetitive.

Btw, you should notify me if you try any of the recipes so I can put your name on the thank-you page. :)


Food is sacred. It is part of the earth to which we are all connected. Food keeps us alive, comforts us, makes us feel loved. We can also create recipes for magical purposes, such as love and prosperity. The fruits, vegetables, grains and herbs that we use all have magical properties - protection, love, healing, prosperity, psychic development, etc. I take this to be further proof of the sacredness of food itself.

The hearth was a sacred spot to our ancestors. At the hearth they warmed their hands and feet and prepared their simple meals, using what was available to them at the time. Today, in place of the hearth, we have the gas or electric stove - a modern hearth that can be just as sacred and alive as a fireplace.

Today most of us have an abundance of food. We go to the grocery store instead of depending upon the harvest. For most of us, winter no longer carries the risk of starvation. Fruits and vegetables are available all year. Our meat comes pre-packaged in foam and cellophane.

We are not as attached to our food as we used to be. We are no longer at the mercy of the elements for our survival. We have become rather disconnected from the gods in that sense. However, we can easily become connected once again through food, that which is so sacred.

People don't seem to know - or care - where their food comes from. There are some small groups of people who try to eat locally, but most of us wouldn't know where to begin. We, as followers of an Earth-based spirituality, should take pride in knowing where our food comes from, and be thankful. We spend time and energy on finding the perfect ritual tools and robes, or learning Reiki or doing past life meditations instead of finding ways to ground ourselves and really, really connect with Nature. Food.

Preparing a meal can be a ritual in itself, as can eating a meal with loved ones. Using the bounty of each season, you can honor that time of year and what the gods have provided. The evidence of the harvest will be on your plate.

I'm not telling you that you have to move to the country and grow everything yourself, nor am I telling you that you must buy organic. What I do want to draw your attention to is the foods that are in season so you can use them when they are at their freshest, most flavorful, and cheapest. In this way you can connect with the seasons in a way similar to our ancestors. They wouldn't have had a fresh tomato in January, and we shouldn't either!

This book is dedicated to all of you who wish to make a deeper connection with the earth and the seasons. If you think the kitchen isn’t magical, this book is also for you. Inside you will find recipes to celebrate the earth’s bounty, as well as some suggestions for making your kitchen a more magical place. Welcome to my kitchen. Please come inside.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Cornmeal Cookies

These light, crisp cookies are flavored with orange and lemon zest. They feature crunchy pine nuts and sweet currants. They are the perfect tea biscuit for this time of year. Because of the citrus and currants, I would make these at Yule.

Cornmeal Cookies

1/2 cup plus 5 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons orange and/or lemon zest
1/3 cup currants
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups AP flour
2/3 cups corn meal, stone ground

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment.

In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar.
Crack in the eggs and mix well.
Add the vanilla and combine.
Mix in the salt, pine nuts, zest and salt. Stir to combine.

Add in the flour and cornmeal a little at a time, stirring as you go. Make sure all the ingredients are incorporated thoroughly.

Use a teaspoon to drop mounds of dough onto the cookies sheets. Bake for about 12 minutes, or until lightly golden.

Feel free to dip half the cookie in melted semi-sweet chocolate if desired.

This makes about 3 - 3 1/2 dozen.

I'll post pictures when they come out of the oven. Yes, I sampled the cookie dough. :)

I have a recipe tester!

I have a recipe tester for my pumpkin samosas. The best part? This friend cooks at a pub and grill in the town where I went to university. One of my recipes is going to be made in a restaurant kitchen and served to some regulars this Sunday. That's the plan, anyway. Heck, I'm excited!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

NaNoWriMo

No, I haven't written anything new. I had a crisis that provoked a minor meltdown. As soon as Nurse Wratched gets here, I'll be fine.

Since I'm not writing a novel, I'm probably not going to write every single day. Know what that means? Recipe reposts! I'm going to bring back some of my older recipes for evaluation.

Look for a falafel recipe coming your way. Might even dig out the apple-cranberry chutney recipe. Yessirree, I'm gettin' serious about organizing this thing. Freakin' finally.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

More NaNoWriMo

Here is some more of my introduction. I seem to be rambling. I promise I'll get to a conclusion soon. I'm almost there, I swear! Feedback is appreciated. Thanks!



People don't seem to know - or care - where their food comes from. There are some small groups of people who try to eat locally, but most of us wouldn't know where to begin. We, as followers of an Earth-based spirituality, should take pride in knowing where our food comes from, and be thankful. We spend time and energy on finding the perfect ritual tools and robes, or learning Reiki or doing past life meditations instead of finding ways to ground ourselves and really, really connect with Nature. Food.

I'll say it again. Food. Preparing a meal can be a ritual in itself, as can eating a meal with loved ones. Using the bounty of each season, you can honor that time of year and what the gods have provided. The evidence of the harvest will be on your plate.

I'm not telling you that you have to move to the country and grow everything yourself, nor am I telling you that you must buy organic. What I do want to draw your attention to is the foods that are in season so you can use them when they are at their freshest, most flavorful, and cheapest. In this way you can connect with the seasons in a way similar to our ancestors. They wouldn't have had a fresh tomato in January, and we shouldn't either!

New Recipes

New recipes are being formulated for the book. I'm going to work more on the introduction (rough draft) today and post a little bit more. Thanks to the people who have left feedback. I really appreciate it.

For winter/Yule - a cornmeal cookie with orange zest, currants and pine nuts
For spring/Ostara - a stuffed lamb shoulder with a Greek-inspired stuffing

I'll hopefully make the cookies soon, possibly this weekend. I'll post the recipe and try to get some pictures up. I never seem to remember to photograph the steps or the finished product until it's too late.

That's about it for now. Getting ready for work, consuming massive amounts of coffee to counteract the 2 hours of wakefulness from 1-3 am. Ugh. Have a great Wednesday, everyone!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Please help me to not suck

I'm trying to address how disconnected many of us are when it comes to our food. The goal is to then persuade the reader that s/he can start strengthening that connection by following some of the steps that will be outlined later on.

Here it goes. Please be gentle.

Food is sacred. It is part of the earth to which we are all connected. Food keeps us alive, comforts us, makes us feel loved. We can also create recipes for magical purposes, such as love and prosperity. The fruits, vegetables, grains and herbs that we use all have magical properties - protection, love, healing, prosperity, psychic development, etc. I take this to be further proof of the sacredness of food itself.

The hearth was a sacred spot to our ancestors. At the hearth they warmed their hands and feet and prepared their simple meals, using what was available to them at the time. Today, in place of the hearth, we have the gas or electric stove - a modern hearth that can be just as sacred and alive as a fireplace.

Today most of us have an abundance of food. We go to the grocery store instead of depending upon the harvest. For most of us, winter no longer carries the risk of starvation. Fruits and vegetables are available all year. Our meat comes pre-packaged in foam and cellophane.

We are not as attached to our food as we used to be. We are no longer at the mercy of the elements for our survival. We have become rather disconnected from the gods in that sense. However, we can easily become connected once again through food, that which is so sacred.



That's all I have so far. I suck.

Monday, November 1, 2010

NaNoWriMo is Here

Happy November! I hope everyone had wonderful Samhain celebrations. I'd love to see some of your costumes!

Well, here it is. NaNoWriMo is here and so far I've written...absolutely nothing. To be fair, though, I *did* just get home from work and am trying to eat lunch. (Today isn't a good solid food day for my band, apparently.) Still, there is time and I'd like to at least start working draft two of my introduction. Draft one was done ages ago but it's crap and I probably won't post it.

Feedback will be much appreciated while I work on things. I'll be posting some recipes too. Sorry again for the lack of pictures, but I'll mostly be posting recipes that have been finished. If I can find them. Oops.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

This is a recipe I'm going to make tonight for the potluck after the Samhain ritual. Finger foods were requested, but there will be plates, so these saucy meatballs should be fine. I apologize for the lack of photos, but I haven't started making these yet, and my hands will be too meaty to photograph later.

The plan:

1 lb lean ground beef
1 lb ground pork
2 eggs
1 cup rolled oats
1 envelope onion soup mix
1 teaspoon black pepper

1 cup apricot preserves
1 bottle sweet chili sauce
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (optional)

Break up the meat in a bowl.
Sprinkle the onion soup mix over the meat mixture.
Measure out 1/2 cup of oats (you can add the other half if needed) and add to the meat.
Lightly beat too eggs and pour over.
Mix with your (spotlessly clean) hands until well combined.
Form into 1" meatballs.
Place meatballs onto a baking sheet that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray.
Bake at 450 degrees for 10-15 minutes.

For the sauce, combine ingredients in a large sauce pan. Simmer on medium-low heat until the preserves melt. Taste for seasoning and add the vinegar if you want more "sour".

Combine the meatballs with the sauce and simmer for 5 minutes.

You could keep these meatballs warm in a crock pot, or serve them at room temperature.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy Halloween


Recipe Repost: Taco Eyeballs

These are on my friends' menu tonight as "Broiled Cyclops Eyeballs" and are my offering for tonight's party.

1.5 lb ground beef (I used the kind with 27% fat)
1 envelope taco seasoning
1 egg
1/2 cup rolled oats or bread crumbs
sliced green or black olives

Preheat the oven to 450 F.
In a large bowl, lightly beat the egg.
Pour in the envelope of seasoning and the oats or bread crumbs. Whisk to combine.
Add the ground beef to the bowl and mix well.
Form 1" meatballs and place on a baking sheet that has been lightly sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.
Lightly press an olive slice into each meatball.
Bake at 450 for 10-15 minutes.

Serve with salsa for dipping, or serve in a taco shell on a bed of lettuce. Garnish however you please. Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Happy Almost Halloween!

Where did Rocktober go?! It seems like just yesterday it was getting here, and now it's getting ready to go.

Well, I signed up for NaNoWriMo because I figured it would be the kick in the pants that I need to get some work done on my cookbook. If you take a look over there ----> , you'll see my copyright info. That's because I do plan to share a few bits and pieces as I go. I don't promise to write every day, nor do I think I will get to 50,000 words (mainly because no cookbook needs that many damn words!), but I'm going to try to get the introduction down and start organizing some recipes.

I hope everyone has a great Samhain. I hope it's a good celebration of the lives of your ancestors. If you have children, enjoy trick-or-treating with them. If you dress up, I'd love to see your costumes. I plan to post pictures of mine after tomorrow.

It's been a busy week at work and I still need to find time this weekend to grade some papers. It's going to be a busy weekend, full of revelry and ritual. If I don't post before November 1, have a happy new year! :)

Monday, October 25, 2010

NaNoWriMo

November is National Novel Writing Month, as many of you know. I always have story ideas floating around in my brain, but nothing that I could turn into a novel. I don't have the patience, discipline, or organizational skills to write a novel. I do, however, have the necessary qualities to write a cookbook. I think. Sooooo, I'm thinking about using November to get part of my cookbook ready.

I don't know how much I'll post here, and I don't know if I'll write every single day (again with the lack of discipline). However, I do plan to try to prepare a recipe a day (not literally prepare in my kitchen, due to time and the fact that I live alone and just don't eat that much), and try to get some of the introduction down.

Anyone else participating in NaNoWriMo?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Attention, Recipe Testers!

This recipe has been floating around in my brain for quite some time. I'm thinking of making some for Samhain, if I have the time. If anyone tries this recipe, please let me know. I want to put it in the book. Thanks!

Pumpkin Samosas

1 package won ton wrappers
Water to moisten
Oil to fry

For the filling:
1 pound roasted pumpkin, lightly mashed (keep it slightly chunky)
1 small onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
½ chili, seeded and minced
½ teaspoon grated ginger
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon garam masala
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
Salt to taste
1-2 teaspoons sugar, optional
2-3 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons fresh coriander, chopped

In a skillet, heat the oil on medium to medium-high heat.
Fry the onions until they begin to soften.
Add the garlic, ginger and chili and fry for an addition 3 minutes.
Add the dried spices and stir to coat everything.
Add the pumpkin and stir to evenly combine.
Stir in the sugar if using.
Salt to taste.
Add the fresh coriander at the end.

To assemble, put about 1 teaspoon of filling into the middle of the won ton wrapper. Use water to moisten the edges of the wrapper and fold into a triangle, pressing firmly to seal.

Heat the oil to 350 degrees and fry about 4 at a time until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. This recipe will make several dozen.

Serve with mango or pear chutney.

Some of My Favorite Cooking Sites

Happy Sunday, everyone. Last night's Indian feast went very well. Everyone was pleased with the food.

Today I thought I would share some links with you all. These are my favorite recipe and cooking websites. If you have any to share with me, please leave them in the comments. I'd love to check out some of your favorite places.

indianfood.about.com
ruchiskitchen.com
indianfoodforever.com
turkishcookbook.com/index.php
almostturkish.blogspot.com
chow.com
care2.com

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Tonight'sMenu

I finally get to cook for friends again! Last time I made a beef and stout pie, herb roasted potatoes, and ginger glazed carrots. I'll have to post the pie recipe later because it was deeeeelicious!

Tonight, however, is Indian night. I'm making:

Murgh Masallam - chicken in a tangy spiced sauce with yogurt
Mughlai potatoes - potatoes in a creamy sauce
Saag - spinach without the paneer (cheese) because I'm too lazy to make it
Samosas - fried pastries with potatoes, peas and spices.

These recipes are from www.ruchiskitchen.com. If you like Indian food, there are TONS of great resources on the web, but I tend to go to Ruchi's Kitchen the most.

I've decided that I am going to honor Annapurna as my kitchen goddess. Many honor Hestia, and I honor her as well, but there are so many kitchen deities from so many cultures around the world. I've done a post on Annapurna and a few other deities, including recipes to make for those deities.

I'm actually thinking of a second book before the first one even gets written. I'm planning on a book that covers various kitchen and hearth gods, plus foods you can make from those cultures in order to honor them. Any thoughts?

Hope everyone has a fantastic weekend! I have a lot of straightening up to do before I can even start cooking! Good thing I got up early!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

What's Been Cooking?

Well, I must admit that I'm in a bit of a cooking rut. Actually, no, that isn't completely true. I have lots of ideas for recipes for the book, but it's not easy to get people together to test them. I can't make a full batch of something just for myself or it will go to waste.

Now we're getting to the tricky part. How many recipes to share? How long to keep them online if I do decide to share them? If I put them all online, what's the point of compiling them into a book?

I do still plan to share some recipes, so don't worry about that. If you were worried in the first place, that is. heh. Here are some things that have come out of my kitchen or will come out of my kitchen soon.

Beef and Stout Pie (for the book. delicious.)
Mushroom Soup (recipe already shared with y'all)
Pumpkin Samosas (Samhain recipe to test)
Meatloaf (tonight's dinner. should I include a meatloaf recipe or not?)

I might not post every single test recipe, but I am going to do my best to post more pictures of the making of the recipes. My kitchen is small, the lighting is bad, and my camera is cheap, so bear with me.

Hope you're all having a lovely weekend!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Sneak Peek

Here is a recipe I finally got around to making. In honor of the moon, here is my Moony Mushroom Soup. No, I don't like that name. I'll just call it "Mushroom Soup". Anyway, it'll be in the book if I ever get around to writing it. Copyrighted, y'all. Or something.

Ingredients
2.5 tablespoons butter
1/2 large onion, finely chopped
1 large portabello cap, diced
1 package crimini mushrooms, sliced
1 package dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in about 1 cup of boiling water
2 teaspoons fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried
2 cans chicken broth, plus extra water if needed
1/2 cup half and half

In a large soup pot, melt the butter and cook the onions for about 5 minutes.
Add the fresh mushrooms and cook until slightly soft, another 5 minutes.
Add the dried mushrooms plus the soaking water, chicken broth and thyme.
Allow the soup to simmer, covered, for 10-15 minutes.
Check for seasoning and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Put the lid back on and let the soup sit for another 5 minutes.
Puree with a stick blender or in batches in a regular blender.
Add the pureed soup back to the pot and stir in the half and half.
Reheat gently if needed, taking care not to boil. Serve.

Friday, October 1, 2010

October is finally here

Hooray for October! I'm so glad it's finally here! Time to make kabak tatlisi and experiment with those pumpkin samosas for my cookbook and...HALLOWEEN! Happy October everyone. Let's hope it's so good we call it Rocktober.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Saturn and The Sun

Foods ruled by Saturn are used for magical changes and include beets, cheese, tamarinds, quince and vinegar.

Foods ruled by The Sun are used for healing, protection, success, magical and physical energy, strength, health and spirituality. This list includes alcohol, believe it or not, along with bammboo, bay, cashews, chestnuts, dried foods such as fruits, grapefruit, hazelnuts, honey, kumquats, lime, raisins, red wine, rice, rosemary, saffron and sesame.

Source: Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Wicca in the Kitchen

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Weekend and Venus

Friday is ruled by Venus. Energies include love, of course, along with beauty, prosperity and friendship.

Saturday is ruled by Saturn. Energies include removing obstacles, magical cleaning, and addressing issues or problems.

Sunday is ruled by the sun and energies include authority, success, and goal achievement.

Foods ruled by Venus:
alfalfa sprouts, apples, apricots, cherries, guavas, licorice, nectarines, oats, peas, peaches, pears, avocados, barley, blackberries, persimmons, plums, raspberries, rhubarb, rye, spirulina, strawberries, Brazil nuts, cardamom, carob, sugar, sweet potatoes, thyme, tomatoes, truffles, vanilla and wheat.

Make a strawberry smoothie with some spirulina for love and good health. Share with your love.

To attract love, carve a heart into an apple. As you eat it, visualize yourself in a loving relationship.

Make a fruit salad using whatever is in season.

Bake a cherry pie for love and beauty. Offer some to Venus.

Notice that a lot of these foods are good for hair and skin. They promote beauty on the inside and the outside!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Thursday is ruled by Jupiter. It is a good day to work for Abundance, Luck, Prosperity and Health.

The foods of Jupiter are useful in promoting money, employment and overall prosperity. Foods ruled by Jupiter include:

allspice, anise, buckwheat, cloves, dandelion, eggplant, endive, figs, macadamia nuts, mace, millet, nutmeg, peanuts, sage and spinach.

Expensive foods such as caviar are good for abundance and prosperity, as are rich foods such as chocolate mousse or fois gras. These things are out of the price range of most of us, however. Meats such as beef, pork and chicken are also good for abundance and prosperity and don't typically cost an arm and a leg.

Splurge on a good cut of beef, or make a stir-fry with Chinese five-spice powder and a cheaper cut of meat. Five-spice powder includes star anise.

Make roast pork with dried fig sauce (Giada DeLaurentiis has a good recipe for this on foodtv.com)

Make eggplant parmesan.

Serve my Warm Spinach Salad with Bacon.

Charge a handful of peanuts with your intent and visualize as you eat. Do the same with macadamia nuts, or make some macadamia nut cookies. Eat before a job interview.

Happy Mabon!

In lieu of posting new recipes (because I've been busy and haven't been in the kitchen as much as I'd like and I've no one to feed!), allow me to recommend a few favorites from past posts.

http://witchsrecipes.blogspot.com/search/label/mabon

http://witchsrecipes.blogspot.com/search/label/autumn

http://witchsrecipes.blogspot.com/search/label/spinach (This includes an Imbolc recipe that would also be good for Mabon, or Ostara for those of you in the Southern Hemisphere)

The black bean soup is delicious and creamy, with flecks of cilantro running through it. Make it as a starter to your harvest feast. Serve it with the cornbread for a full meal.

The corn chowder is nice a hearty and would make a meal on its own with some homemade bread and wilted greens

I hope everyone has a blessed Mabon and I hope that all your harvests are successful.

Happy Ostara to my friends in the Southern Hemisphere! A blessed spring to you all.

http://witchsrecipes.blogspot.com/search/label/ostara

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Wednesday - Mercury

Wednesday is ruled by Mercury. The magical energies for this day are for communication, travel, wisdom, intelligence, and creativity. This Wednesday is also the day before the full moon.

Foods ruled by Mercury are useful for strengthening the conscious mind, divination, studying, self-improvement, communication and wisdom. These foods include:

almonds, beans, caraway, celery, chervil, dill, fennel, marjoram, may apple, mulberry, mung sprouts, oregano, parsley, pecan, peppermint, pistachio, pomegranate, turmeric


Ideas for foods to eat on this day would be fish (a brain food) paired with chervil, dill, femmel, marjoram, parsley, and/or oregano.

Make a trail mix with dried fruits and almonds, pecans and pistachios. Eat while studying or before taking an exam.

Monday, September 20, 2010

For Mars and Tuesday

The energies of Mars rule Tuesday. Tuesday is a day for working on passion, discipline, athleticism, bravery and courage.

Foods ruled by Mars include:

Artichokes, asparagus, bananas, barbecued foods, basil, beer, black pepper carrots, chili, chile rellenos, chives, chocolate, coffee, coriander, cranberry, cumin, flaming foods (Crepes Suzette, anyone?), fried foods, garlic, ginger, horseradish, leeks, mustard, pine nuts, poke, prickly pears, radishes, salsa, spicy foods, tea, tempura, and watercress.

Ideas:

Mix up a curry with garlic, ginger, coriander and cumin. The spice mix will inflame the senses and increase passion.

Go out for Mexican food and order a chile relleno. Eat plenty of chips and salsa.

Mix up a batch of basil pesto with pine nuts.

Just eat a chocolate bar. It will calm your nerves and increase bravery. Visualize this happening as you savor it.

For athleticism, first hit the gym, then have a nice granola bar with chunks of chocolate in it. You'll feel invincible!

It takes not only courage to eat spicy foods, but also the discipline to get used to the heat and build up a tolerance. Start slowly if you aren't used to spicy foods, or just use the spices listed above if you can't eat hot foods.

The Moon's Foods

The following foods are ruled by the moon and are useful for stimulating your psychic awareness. They are also utilized in healing, purification, promoting sleep, love, friendships, spirituality, fertility, peace and compassion.

Blueberry
Broccoli
Brussels Sprouts
Butter
Cabbage
Cauliflower
Chickweed
Coconut
Cucumber
Egg
Grape
Grapefruit
Ice cream
Lemon
Lentil
Lettuce
Melon
Milk and milkshakes
Mushroom
Omelet
Papaya
Passion fruit
Poppy
Potato
Pumpkin
Seaweed
Souffle
Soup
Soy
Watermelon
White whine
Yogurt

Ideas:

Pumpkin pie smoothie - Mix 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, 1 cup pureed pumpkin, 3/4 cup vanilla soy milk and some ice cubes in your blender

Mushroom soup or a mushroom omelet

Lentil or potato soup

A salad with lettuce, cucumbers, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower dressed with lemon juice and olive oil

Sushi

Source for foods: Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Wicca in the Kitchen

Happy Monday!

Monday, the Moon's day, is for your creative endeavors. If your creative endeavors involve trying for a baby, here are some foods to help you on your way.

Figs
Grapes
Mulberries
Pomegranates (beautiful little symbols of the womb!)
Barley
Eggs
Egg breads such as brioche
Hazelnuts
Milk
Poppy seeds
Rice
Sesame - seeds and paste (tahini)
Watercress
Rabbit

Today would be a good day to make that kabak tatlisi I posted the other day. Eat it before starting your next creative project and visualize!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sun and Moon Dessert

This is a Turkish recipe that combines elements of fire with water. It features pumpkin, which is perfect for Mabon and Samhain. Eat it at the equinox to celebrate balance. It's good any time you want to balance masculine and feminine energies.


Kabak Tatlisi

Ingredients:
1 smallish pumpkin*, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces (Moon, Earth, healing, money)
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water

* you want a good pound of pumpkin pieces. You can also use butternut squash, which is also a Sun-ruled vegetable.

Crushed hazelnuts (Sun, Air, wisdom, conscious mind, fertility)
Tahini (sesame paste) (Sun, Fire, Sex, fertility, money, protection)

Place the chunks of pumpkin in a large pot. Sprinkle with sugar. Let this set for several hours, until some of the liquid from the pumpkin has drained. Add extra water if needed.

Cook the pumpkin uncovered on medium-low heat until tender, approximately 30-40 minutes. The pieces of pumpkin will be darker in color and most of the liquid will be gone.

To serve, plate up the pumpkin pieces, pour on tahini and sprinkle with crushed hazelnuts.

This can also be served with clotted cream and grated pistachios in place of the tahini and hazelnuts, but this is the version I prefer.

"Lady of the silver moon
Lord of the golden sun
I take both energies within me
And make them one"

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Apple, Part II

In folklore, apples have many different powers. These include immortality, eternal youth, love and divination.

On All Hallow's Eve, it is believed that an apple peel thrown over the shoulder will land in the first letter of the name of your suitor. Another method of divining the name of one's suitor is to name apple seeds for each suitor. The apple seeds are then placed on the forehead or cheeks. The last seed to fall represents your love.

As Witches know, the apple has a five-pointed star within. Slice the apple horizontally and place in a cup of warmed apple cider to add a little extra oomph to this warming love potion. Add cinnamon and cloves for extra warmth.

More apple lore from homesteadarts.org:

# The golden apples of the Hesperides were sought by Hercules for their ability to give immortality. In Scandinavia, the perpetual youth apples were kept by Idhunn in Asgard.

# An apple tossed to Conie, son of Conn, by the woman from the Land of the Living provided sustenance to him for a month, but made him long for her and her land, as was her plan.

# Gna, messenger of the Scandinavian Frigga, dropped an apple to King Rerir who ate it with his wife, who then bore a child. Frey sent eleven golden apples to Gerda as a marriage offer.

# The Greek goddess Atalanta was won by a suitor who threw down golden apples to distract her from their race, which he then won.

# An apple in the Arabian Nights cured every ill.

# In Black American folklore, apple-shaped birthmarks can be cured by rubbing with an apple and eating apples.

# In Danish, German, and English folklore, and in voodoo, apples are used as love charms.

# A Danish fairytale uses an apple as a chastity test. The apple fades if the owner is unfaithful.

# Apples are used in divination in Ireland, Wales, Scotland, and the Isle of Man. In fact, the custom of diving for apples and catching one on a string is a remnant of druidic divination.

# The Apple of Discord, inscribed For the Fairest, was given by Paris to Aphrodite, causing a quarrel among the goddesses and helping to bring about the Trojan War.


Mulled Cider

1 gallon fresh, unfiltered apple cider
1 orange, washed and sliced
1 apple, washed and sliced horizontally to reveal the star
15 cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger
4-5 cinnamon sticks
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg (fresh is best)

Pour the cider into a pot and heat on medium-high. Stud the orange slices with cloves. Add the fruit, cinnamon sticks and spices. Simmer on low for 20 minutes. Strain to remove any sediment. Serve with a cinnamon stick in each cup, if desired.

For the adults: Add a touch of rum or brandy.

Food of Love: The Apple

Planet: Venus
Element: Water
Energies: Love, health, peace

Apples have been eaten since the Paleolithic era. To the ancient Egyptians, they were a highly valued food. Baskets of apples were offered to Hapy, the Egyptian god of the Nile. Iduna, a Norse goddess, guarded a store of apples that, when eaten, gave the gift of perpetual youth to the other goddesses and gods. The Yoruba still offer apples to Chango.

Apples are linked with spirituality in the British Isles, particularly with Avalon.

Apples were once rubbed before eaten in order to move the demons or evil spirits that were thought to reside within. The mere smell of a fresh apple was once thought to betwoe longevity and restore physical strength.

For love, carve a heart into the skin of a fresh apple before eating it. Visualize yourself attracting love and being in a loving relationship. Share an apple with your lover. Bake a cinnamon-scented apple pie or drink cold or warm apple cider.

This Samhain, or even Mabon, whip up a batch of love-red candy apples or beautiful, creamy caramel apples to share with loved ones. Inscribe symbols of love into the candy or caramel coating before hardening.

Candy Apples:

8 medium sized apples, preferably one with firm, crisp flesh (Granny Smith is my favorite)
8 wooden sticks
3 cups white sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
1/4 teaspoon red food coloring (optional)

Wash and dry the apples. Remove any stems or leaves and insert a wooden stick into the end of each apple. Set apples aside.

Heat and stir sugar, corn syrup and water in a saucepan until sugar has dissolved. Boil until the syrup reaches 300 degrees on a candy thermometer, or until a little syrup dropped into cold water separates into breakable threads.

Remove from heat and stir in cinnamon and food coloring, if using.

Dip one apple completely in the syrup and swirl it around a little with the stick to coat. Hold the apple above the saucepan to drain off excess. Place apple, with the stick facing up, on a well greased pan.

Repeat with remaining apples. If syrup thickens or cools too much, simply reheat briefly before proceeding. Let cool completely before serving.

Variation: Before completely cooled, dip the apples in some heart-shaped sprinkles for love.


Caramel Apples:
1 cup butter
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
8-10 wooden sticks
8-10 medium tart apples

Wash and dry the apples, removing any stems. Insert a wooden stick into the end of each apple.

Combine butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and milk in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil for 30 to 40 minutes, or until syrup reaches 248 degrees (firm ball stage) on a candy thermometer.

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Dip each apple into the caramel mixture, swirling to coat. Set apples on wax paper to cool completely before serving.

Sources: Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Wicca in the Kitchen
allfreecrafts.com

Friday, September 10, 2010

Pine Nuts

Planet: Mars
Element: Air
Energies: Money, physical strength, love

Pine nuts have long been an important food source for many. They have been and are eaten in the Mediterranean, and were an importance source of essential fats for American Indian tribes.

Eat pine nuts for money or love. Make stuffed vine leaves with rice and pine nuts for a triple dose of money magic, or make basil pesto with pine nuts for love.

Pecans

Planet: Mercury
Element: Air
Energies: Money, employment

Eat pecans when seeking employment.

Pecans are falling from the trees here in the South. It's time to pick up a sack and start collecting! Imagine a warm, gooey homemade pecan pie devoured at the next new moon. What a delicious way to stir up some money magic! I also added pecans to my Prosperity Shortbread.

Pecan Pie recipe from www.simplyrecipes.com


Ingredients

2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp molasses
2 Tbsp melted butter
2 Tbsp flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups pecans, coarsely chopped

1 9-inch pie shell, chilled for an hour if freshly made, defrosted for 10 minutes if frozen.
Method

1 Preheat oven to 375°F. Spread pecans along the bottom of the pie shell. Mix the remaining ingredients and pour over pecans. The pecans will rise to the surface of the pie.

2 Bake at 375°F for 45-50 minutes until the filling has set. About 20 minutes into the cooking you may want to use a pie crust protector, or tent the edges of the pie crust with aluminum foil to prevent the pie crust edges from burning.

3 Remove from oven and let cool completely.

Serves 8.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Autumn's Bounty: Squash

Information courtesy of Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Wicca in the Kitchen

Planet: Sun
Element: Fire
Energies: Spirituality

Lore: Squash was cultivated in the Americas as early as 4000 B.C.E. Several Indian tribes honored this plant. One striking Hopi kachina is depicted with a squash head, and squash blossom necklaces are modern reminders of the original sacredness of this simple plant.

Magical uses: Eat this vegetable in dishes designed to increase awareness of the nonphysical reality around us. It is a fine spirituality-inducing food. At least for magical purposes, a squash is a squash, baked or fresh, acorn, hubbar, or zucchini.

Many people, of course, dislike squash. If you're one of them. avoid this food or eat sweetened zucchini bread.

My favorite zucchini dish is mucver, a Turkish zucchini fritter.

Recipe from almostturkish.blogspot.com
http://almostturkish.blogspot.com/2009/07/zucchini-fritters-mucver.html

Saturday, September 4, 2010

A Sad Day at Koc

Today I learned that one of my former students collapsed and died during the TOEFL exam at Koc University. She will be buried tomorrow. She was maybe 20 years old. I don't know what happened yet, but I hope it will become more clear. Please keep the family of Gamze Kadriye Ertici in your prayers. Thank you.

Libations for Mabon and Samhain

I'm not a mixologist, but I'm damn good at googling things. Here are some recipes for drinkies to serve those of legal drinking age. Why stop at plain ol' apple cider (delicious though it may be)?

Herb's Harvest Cocktail
(cocktails.about.com)

* 2 parts Herb’s Rosemary vodka
* 1/2 part pear puree
* 1/2 part lemon juice
* 1/4 part almond syrup
* 3/4 part cranberry juice (optional)
* sprig of rosemary for garnish

Preparation:

1. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice.
2. Shake well.
3. Strain into an old-fashioned glass filled with ice.
4. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary.


This would be perfect for Samhain, as rosemary is an herb for remembrance. You could mix up a pitcher and use it to toast your ancestors.

For Mabon - Fall Spice Cordial (cocktails.about.com)

* 1 oz Navan Natural Vanilla Liqueur
* 1 oz Bourbon
* 3/4 oz Chipotle-orange syrup (recipe below)
* 2 Dashes Regan's Orange Bitters
* Orange peel, for garnish
* --
* Additional ingredients needed:
* water
* Chipotle pepper
* fresh orange peel
* sugar

Preparation:

1. Mix together all ingredients except for the orange peel.
2. Shake together with ice and strain into a martini glass.
3. Garnish with the orange peel.

Chipotle-Orange Syrup

* 2 Cups water
* 1 Chipotle pepper
* 2 Strips fresh orange peel
* 3/4 Cup sugar

1. Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan.
2. Reduce to a simmer and add the chipotle pepper and orange peel.
3. Cover and let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Strain with a fine-mesh sieve and add the sugar.
4. Return to a boil and stir until the sugar dissolves.
5. Remove from the heat and let cool.
6. Pour the syrup into a container and keep in the refrigerator.

Friday, September 3, 2010

This Week's Festivities

The following festival information comes from The Wicca Book of Days by Gerina Dunwich. Food suggestions are from my mind, and any recipes are from teh interwebz.

Sept. 4

At sunrise on this day, the Changing Woman Ceremony is held annually by the Native American tribe of the Apache in Arizona. The rite, which lasts four consecutive days, marks the coming of age of a pubescent girls, who ritually transforms into the spirit-goddess known as Changing Woman and blesses all who are in attendance.

Food suggestion to mark this event: I recommend making a batch of Cait Johnson's Three Sisters Harvest Stew. Squash, corn and beans are important plants to many Native American tribes.


Three Sisters Harvest Stew by Cait Johnson (Witch in the Kitchen)

2 tablspoons olive oil (TB)
1 large onion, chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 lg. carrot, ch9opped into 1-in. pieces
3/4 cup butternut squash, cubed
1 can beans, drained (pintos, for example)
1 cup giant dried white corn, soaked overnight in cold water and then simmered in boiling water until tender, or 1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 tsp. crumbled dried sage
sea salt
1 chipotle pepper (optional)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Water or vegetable broth, as needed

In a large stew pot, heat the olive oil. Add the chopped onion and stir to coat with the oil.

Saute until golden, then add the garlic, carrot, squash, beans, corn, sage and sea salt to taste, and the chipotle pepper, if you desire. Though the pepper is optional, the smoky taste is reminiscent of the first hearth fires of the season, perfect for autumn.

Simmer the stew, adding the water or broth as needed, until the squash is tender, then add the parsley and stir thoroughly. Serve piping hot.


Sept. 5


In ancient Rome, the Roman Games, in honor of the god Jupiter, begin annually on this date and lasted until the thirteenth day of September.

Ganesh, the elephant-headed Hindu god of good luck and prosperity, is honored on this day throughout Indian with a parade and a festival of rejoicing.

Recipe suggestion: Muttar Pulao (recipe on my other blog). This is a dish of peas and rice. Rice is a good food for prosperity, and peas are for love.


Sept. 6


An ancient Inca blood festival called Situa was held annually on this date to ward off the evil spirits of illness and disease. As part of the ceremony, parents would eat a special cake consecrated with the blood of their offspring.

Recipe suggestion: Make thumbprint cookies with your children. Eat the cookies that have been consecrated with the thumbprint (and fingers) of your precious ones.


Sept. 7

Healer's Day. This is a special day dedicated to all women and men who posesss the Goddess-given gift of healing and who use it unselfishly to help others.

Daena, the Main Goddess of the Parsees, is honored on this date each year with a religious festival India.

Recipe suggestion: For Healer's Day, make and share chicken soup with your friends and family.

Chicken Soup (from homecooking.about.com)


* 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
* 2 medium onions, chopped
* 3 medium carrots, cut into 1/4-inch rounds
* 3 celery ribs, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
* 1 (6- to 7-pound) chicken
* 2 quarts chicken broth or canned low-sodium broth
* 1 quart cold water, or as needed
* 4 sprigs of fresh parsley
* 3 sprigs of fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
* 1 bay leaf
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 2 cups egg noodles
* Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish


Heat the oil in a brothpot over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, and celery and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 10 minutes.

Cut the chicken into 8 pieces. If there are any pads of yellow fat in the tail area, do not remove them. Add the chicken to the pot and pour in the broth. Add enough cold water to cover the ingredients by 2 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat, skimming off the foam that rises to the surface. Add the parsley, thyme, and bay leaf.

Reduce the heat to low. Simmer, uncovered, until the chicken is very tender, about 2 hours.

Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside until cool enough to handle. Remove and discard the parsley and thyme sprigs and bay leaf. Let stand 5 minutes and degrease the soup, reserving the fat if you are making matzo balls.

Discard the chicken skin and bones and cut the meat into bite-size pieces. Add the noodles and cook until done, about 10 minutes. Stir the meat back into the soup and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot. (The soup can be prepared up to 3 days ahead, cooled, covered, and refrigerated, or frozen for up to 3 months.)

Yield: 12 to 14 servings

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Mabon/Samhain Section

No, I'm not giving away all my secrets just yet, but I am going to share some of the things that I plan to put in the Autumn section of the cookbook.

Salad with seasonal greens and fruits
Spicy Black Bean Soup (this recipe actually is on the other blog)
Corn Chowder
Meatball Soup
Sesame Bok Choy
Acorn Squash Soup
Cornbread (another recipe that is already on the other blog)
Maple Sweet Potatoes
Roasted Two Potatoes
Balsamic-Citrus Glazed Beets
Savory Corn Waffles with Pinto Beans
Samhain Sweet and Spicy Nuts
Prosperity Shortbread (already on blog somewhere too)

That's just a small taste of what I have in store for the book, and that's only for Autumn!

Bad Kitchen Witch!

I admit it. I suck at coming up with meditations and devotionals. I have to think too hard about rhymes if I want it to rhyme. I know things don't have to, but it does sound nicer if they do. Because I stink at such things, my cookbook isn't really going to include a lot of those things. If you really want a book that has a lot of rituals, meditations, etc., I recommend Witch in the Kitchen by Cait Johnson. A lot of the recipes sound good too.

I tested a soup recipe for the cookbook today and it turned out to be pretty tasty. I have lots of ideas that need to be tried out, but I just can't eat it all.

I am still trying to meet Pagans in this area, but everyone is so effing apathetic. I told my friend Bjorn today that I think I might hate other Pagans. LOL! That's not true, of course, but I get aggravated at the apathy, the unwillingness to freaking communicate! Come ON, people! Even if you're a solitary practitioner, it might be nice to meet people with whom to share information, or at least get some of the FREE FOOD I'm offering. Geez.

Another thing I suck at is coming up with cutesy names for shit, so I'm simply going to organize my recipes by season or Sabbat. There will be no adorably-named "Cakes and Ale" sections or anything like that. Nope, I'm just concentrating on honoring the wheel of the year with seasonal meals arranged by category within each season.

Damn I have a lot of work to do. Again, any recipe testers out there? Any proofreaders?

I'm celebrating my weekend with Chinese food and true ghost stories on Bio. Tomorrow I am going to work on something with bok choy. I have a lot of soup recipes and a few other tricks up my sleeve. I really need to get crackin'. So when the heck does my motivation return from Tahiti? And what will it bring me?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Simple Bean Spell

If you are facing a difficult problem or are dealing with a person who is being stubborn, try this: Take an appropriate number of dried beans and name them for the problems or the people who are not being receptive. Place the beans in a pot, cover with water, and boil until tender. As the beans cooks, visualize the problem breaking down or the person(s) softening and becoming more receptive. Keep the beans in a jar with some of the cooking water until the problem is solved, then pour everything out.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wow!

If it weren't for Nydia at Bringing up Salamanders, I never would've known about the Top 35 Paganism Blogs or the fact that my humble little blog is one of them! I can't believe it!

I feel my true Pagan self returning, slowly, now that I've moved back to the U.S. I got on the Witches Voice page and wrote to every Pagan in this town and I hope I hear something back. I am still living in a hotel but I am working on moving things into my new apartment. Classes start Monday. I'll be busy for a while, but I will soon have time to start making regular posts again.

I'm still quite surprised. I've let my little blog languish because I've been busy moving back to the United States and I've had a lot of emotional crap happening too. Hopefully things will soon be sorted out, and hopefully I will be back in the kitchen stirring up comforting foods full of love and healing to share with friends and coworkers.

Blessed Be!

P.S. Here's the link to the list. Congratulations to everyone on it! I know some of the fine bloggers, including Nydia and Mrs. B, and all deserve to be on the list.

http://www.onlinephdprograms.com/top_paganism/

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Brief Update

I moved to Arkansas. I don't have a place to live yet, so I'm camping out in a motel. My dad is with me, all of my crap is in the back of his truck or in my car, and tomorrow is orientation.

Friday, July 30, 2010

I'm back!

Well, sort of. I'm in my office because while I was away, several keys on my home computer keyboard decided not to work. That's why I haven't updated before now.

The trip with my uncle was all right but I am happy to be finished with a tour of the country. He is still in Turkey. We will go back to the U.S. Aug. 5 and I will return here Aug. 29. If I decide to come back, that is. I just don't know. I can't go into too much detail here because I just can't figure out how to spill my brains upon this virtual page.

The U of Tennessee offered me a job, dangling it in front of me like a carrot. I was so excited! I started packing my shit, ready to move back to the U.S. Then I got an e-mail saying it wasn't possible to offer me the position. What the hell, people? Shouldn't you know this BEFORE? I wonder if someone here isn't saying something untrue... Again, best not to go into too much detail. I just don't know. I was very sad and still am rather disappointed.

So much to do, so much to say. Just add me on Facebook if you haven't already and I'll answer your questions there. Find me at hariscruff at yahoo dot com.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Vacation, all I ever wanted

My uncle is here and I am on vacation until the end of August. August 5 I will return to the U.S. for a few weeks. My updates will be pretty sparse until I get back. IF I come back! The assistant director at the school I applied to in TN is trying to get ahold of me, probably for an interview. The problem is, he didn't contact me until late (my time) yesterday, and Monday my uncle and I are leaving Istanbul for 9 days. I gave him my mobile number and shall hope for the best.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Eggplant Bacon

I love bacon. I live in a Muslim country. Guess what that means? That's right - no bacon! It's hard to find and prohibitively expensive. Sometimes my mom sends me some packages of pre-cooked bacon but lately I've had a problem of packages not arriving, so scratch THAT idea.

I've seen some raw eggplant bacon recipes on a couple of vegan recipe sites, so I decided to give it a whirl. I don't have a dehydrator and I don't give a shit if my food is raw or cooked (unless it's meat, of course), so I decided to make my own version, as usual.

We have long, skinny eggplants here, not like the corpulent, football-shaped ones in the U.S., but those will also do.

What I did:

sliced 1 eggplant into thin strips, lengthwise (use a veggie peeler if you can)
Fried until crispy on both sides

Then I mixed:
1 tablespoon (an actual tablespoon, not a measuring spoon) of brown sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 cap full of liquid smoke

I coated the crispy eggplant slices and let them glaze. Oh my gods. Gooooood! Try it try it try it!

Have a happy Saturday!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Kitchen Remedies for Sunburns

Most of you probably already know about these, but if you get a sunburn there are items in the kitchen that you can use for relief.

Aloe. A lot of people grow aloe plants. Keep yours in the kitchen. The sap is good for all sorts of burns and skin irritations.

Vinegar. Put about an inch of water in the bathtub and add 1/2 white vinegar. Soak the biggest towel you have in this mixture and wrap it around your body. Leave until the towel feels hot, re-wet and repeat.

Baking soda. A paste of baking soda and water rubbed onto the sunburn will also help cool it.

Milk, cream or yogurt. Dairy products will moisturize your skin while removing the burn. This could be pricey and smelly, however.

Vinegar is the remedy I have found most effective. You can use an after sun cream on your skin after the treatment. You'll smell like a pickle, but the heat in your skin will be gone!

Music for Your Kitchen Witchin'

Working on a protection spell? Heavy metal and hard rock all the way, babies. AC/DC "Stiff Upper Lip" comes to mind.

Love? Atlanta Rhythm Section "So Into You" or Bobby Darin's version of "If I Were a Carpenter".

Working on a loaf of bread for Lammas? "John Barleycorn" is the only song that I can think of.

Other kitchen witch inspiring artists for me include The Beatles, Jethro Tull, Ravi Shankar, Led Zeppelin and Tori Amos.

Let music be part of the magic in your food. Use the energy from the music to help you infuse the food with your intent. Thoughts? Share them with me in the comments! What do you listen to and why do you listen to it?

I am Currently in Love with This Song



Oh, and to TheBlakkDuchess: I love Frida Kahlo too! :)

Friday, July 2, 2010

Who can...

turn this picture into a button? I cannot because I am dumb.


Thursday, July 1, 2010

I don't want to jinx it, but...

Another U.S. university will be considering my application next week.

In other news, my kitchen is a disaster area! I need to give it a good cleaning this weekend. I have plans for a kitchen god/goddess meditation that I want to work up and share with you all!

Happy Friday! It's chocolate sheet cake with chocolate buttercream frosting day at work. (Not my original recipes, or I'd post them. I'll post links later. )

Monday, June 21, 2010

Video Share

These were uploaded by my friend Rob. Click on the title of this post to get to his YouTube page. The group is Spiral Rhythm. He's had the pleasure of meeting the band and says everyone is very nice. I'm listening to these three chants right now because they're my favorites. It's part of my simple celebration of Midsummer. Enjoy!







Sunday, June 20, 2010

Midsummer Smoothie

Okay, so I did prepare some food for today. It wasn't originally intended for Midsummer, but it is a perfect breakfast on what will undoubtedly be a hot, hot day.

1 cup apricot-apple juice
1/2 - 3/4 cup apricot-peach yogurt
fresh or tinned mango - about 1/2 a large mango
1-2 rings pineapple, fresh or tinned

Put everything in the blender. Add a couple of ice cubes if you wish. Blend for 1-2 minutes and enjoy. It is summer in a glass. Yum!

Glad Midsummer!

I was awakened by the sun about half an hour ago. Since it was an hour before my alarm was set to go off, I was initially annoyed. Then, I remembered today is the longest day of the year. Woo hoo!

I wish I could tell you about the wonderful ritual I have planned and the meal to go with it, but truth be told, I'll probably just light a small candle, burn some more rose incense, and do a brief meditation/prayer session after work. I'm in the land of NoPagan, which isn't very inspiring. As for food, I've no idea. I'll probably eat one of the Zero bars in the package my mom sent me! *lol* Mmmmm...Zero bar...

Anywho, I hope everyone has a beautiful day. Let me know how you celebrate!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Thanks, Just a Gal!


Just a Gal from http://lostinthetrailerpark.blogspot.com gave me this Versatile Blogger award. Thank you so much! I'm getting ready to leave for work, but I will post the 7 facts and tag some people later today or this weekend.

Recent Witchin'

Since the beginning of the school year back in October, I've been taking homemade goodies to work on Fridays. Sometimes I make peanut butter cookies or blondies, or chocolate-cherry cookies. The goal is to show the other teachers that they are appreciated and that someone is thinking of them. We still have our problems, of course. We're human so we still gossip and have silly little issues with other coworkers, but everyone is a little bit happier on Friday morning when they go into the kitchen and see cookies or cake.

Last night I made a pineapple-upside-down cake and a banana-upside-down-cake with chocolate chips. I don't do it simply so people look at ME favorably, but rather at everyone else. It works for me, though. I've been approached by several teachers who told me how happy they are that I am staying another year. I guess I must be doing something right for the time being.

Ugh, Writers Block!

Help!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Shot Down

OU rejected my application. Guess I'll be here another year. I'm so glad I'm going on vacation today. I'm really bummed out.

Tatil!

I'm on vacation under next Monday. Tomorrow I'm off to Amsterdam with a work friend. We will return on Friday. I hope to come back with lots of pictures to share. Van Gogh museum, here I come! Anne Frank house, here I come. Please don't make me cry. I'm such a marshmallow. Mmmm...marshmallow... Have a great week, everyone!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Recipe re-post

This recipe started out as an enchilada casserole recipe, but I decided it would be better as a baked dip. I also originally intended it for Beltane, but I think it would also be excellent for your Midsummer celebration.

Baked Shrimp Dip


1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (or a combination of Jack and Cheddar), plus 1/3 cup for the top
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1 cup cooked, peeled and deveined shrimp, cut into small pieces
1 small can chopped green chiles
1/3 cup chopped green or red onion
2 cloves garlic, minced fine
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp ground cumin
1 can green chile enchilada sauce (optional)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

corn tortilla chips (I like to use blue corn, but any kind will do)

In a medium bowl, gently combine all the ingredients except the enchilada sauce and extra cheese. Place dip in a small baking dish that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Spread the dip into the baking dish.

Bake dip at 350 F until it starts to bubble. Top with the enchilada sauce (if using), and the rest of the cheese. Bake until the cheese is golden and bubbly. Serve with tortilla chips. Serve with some sangria or a margarita or two as well!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Beauty is Pain

Yesterday I let one of my coworkers talk me into accompanying her to her hairdresser. I've only had my hair cut once while in Turkey, mainly because I don't know any hairdresser vocabulary besides "cut". She, on the other hand, doesn't know as much Turkish as I do, but she does know the hairdresser words. So off we went.

I decided to get my layers tidied up and get some dead ends trimmed. Then, after some thought and discussion I decided to get my hair colored. I'm only 30 but I have a LOT of gray hair. I picked a color that I liked, a rather dark brown, but the stylist said, "No" and pointed to another one. I finally relented and it turned out he was right - it is more or less my natural color.

Who knew going to the hairdresser would take so much time! We were there for HOURS. I was shampooed, had my hair cut, dried, colored, shampooed, dried and styled. During the drying/styling portion, the hair dryer shorted out and caught on fire! I didn't have my glasses on so I couldn't see much, but I did catch a spark and flame out of the corner of my eye. Fortunately no one was hurt and the guy drying my hair got a new one. He initially dropped the first one like a hot potato and I don't blame him one bit!

I also got my eyebrows threaded, which is apparently a rather old Indian and Middle Eastern practice. Have any of you ever had this done? It's pretty cool. A twisted piece of thread is used to pluck the hairs. Wild!

I finally got home a little after 10 pm (travel time and waiting on the bus ate up some time) and made myself some sesame tofu. That's all the cooking I've done lately, but I'll be making peanut butter blondies to take with me on Sunday. Sunday is TOEFL day and I'm an essay reader.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Now I Can Divulge the Contents

Annette over at Ward House informed me that her package arrived so now I can share with everyone exactly what was in the giveaway box. I'll be taking Turkish things home with me over the summer, so I'll probably have another giveaway then. She will be blogging about it this Saturday.






Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Recipe Analysis

IF you head over to http://witchsrecipes.blogspot.com/, you can see that I am working on nutritional information for the recipes there. I may do that instead of analyzing everything for the book. We shall see how long it takes!